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Is TSB being straight about the scale of scammed customers following the bank’s online chaos?

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
May 23, 2018

TSB customers are losing thousands of pounds as scammers exploit the bank’s tech problems.

The conmen are taking advantage by targeting customers who are experiencing problems with their bank accounts. 


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They impersonate TSB bank staff and attempt to gain access to customer accounts and steal large amounts of cash, The Times reports.

Some customers have reported having to wait on the phone for five hours to speak to the bank’s fraud team.

Many have taken to social media to complain to say the bank is not making it clear that this kind of scamming is going on.

Other customers have also claimed that the bank's suspicious activity alerts system is not been working.


£17,000 con

Rachel, a vet in north London, says she lost £17,000 from her current account three days ago after receiving a call from TSB saying it had noticed suspicious transactions.

She said she assumed the person who called was from TSB as he knew her bank account number, address and phone number.

"He said he was going to lock down the internet banking and they would send me a letter in a couple of days to reinstate it, and deal with the fraudulent charges. It all sounded very realistic," she said.

Rachel received a six-digit code by SMS, and she gave this to the person on the phone. He told her that it was not working and organised for another to be sent, which she also supplied. Rachel later discovered that the first code let the scammers access her account, and the second allowed them to set up a direct debit to a new person.

"The fact that there is a four-hour wait must indicate they are getting a high level of fraud," she said. "I asked TSB why someone was accessing my account using a different IP address and managing to transfer 85 per cent of the money I had in my account in two goes to a payee I had never paid before, without me getting a warning, but they couldn't answer.

"I have also asked multiple times how that code was enough for them to access my account. I don't know if the fraudsters are taking advantage of the chaos or if there has been a major data breach."


£25,000 cleaned from account

The Times also reports that Paul Catherall, an artist, lost £25,000 last week. He was scammed in the same way, receiving an email that claimed  to be from TSB asking for his number and then a six digit code that was texted to him.

No response from TSB

"I've had no response from TSB. I have no idea when they are going to get back to me; I have to just sit and wait," he said. "I didn't sleep a wink the whole of Wednesday night when I discovered what had happened I couldn't speak; I was shaking, emotionally devastated."

The Financial Conduct Authority has not revealed how many people have complained about TSB and its handling of scammers in the past month.

TSB said: "It is a sad fact that fraudsters might try to take advantage of situations like these. We are reminding customers not to click on any links or messages which they receive that they feel are suspicious. We'd never ask for pin, password or full memorable information if people are ever unsure, they should listen to their instincts and not be rushed, and contact us first to be sure."

The bank added that it was putting in "additional resources to cut down the long wait times" and that it was working with experts from IBM to resolve the remaining issues.

Cost of TSB’s IT bungle

Analyst Ben Toms, of RBC Capital Markets, estimates TSB will face a £16 million regulatory fine, on top of paying £51 million to compensate many of its five million customers, over it’s IT bungle.

TSB has estimated its costs, not including the prospect of a fine, at £30 million.

TSB is owned by Sabadell, of Spain.

Paul Pester, TSB's chief executive, has given up a £2 million bonus.


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